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Yeddyurappa’s exit sealed BJP’s fate

BJP patriarch LK Advani’s stubborn stand against granting any concession to BS Yeddyurappa saw his exit from the BJP and forming his own party in December last. That seems to have done the party in in the assembly elections, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: May 09, 2013 00:57 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
Karnataka Aseembly elections,karnataka polls 2013,karnataka poll results

BJP patriarch LK Advani’s stubborn stand against granting any concession to BS Yeddyurappa saw his exit from the BJP and forming his own party in December last. Advani went by the views of his close supporters Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar, who were against granting any concession including presidentship of Karnataka unit of BJP.

“Let the party lose elections, we should not concede to him,” Advani remarked angrily to a senior BJP leader who went to him to convey that, without Yeddyurappa, the BJP was finished.

When the results came out on Wednesday, the man who lead the BJP to power in Karnataka, did exactly what Advani did not care he would do: single-handedly cause the massive rout of the party in the elections.

In fact, as BJP sources said, the genesis of the trouble in BJP had a lot to do with the tussle between two former saffron comrades, Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar, who resented the rise of the former as a mass-base leader.

Ananth Kumar, whose proximity to Advani and Swaraj was his strength, convinced the two leaders that Yeddyurappa was nothing without the BJP and would bite dust. Also he backed Modi and was close to Arun Jaitley. True to Kumar’s assessment, Yeddyurappa won from his home ground of Shikaripura by over 15,000 votes and his party got only seven seats. But his party ate away the BJP’s traditional votes in several constituencies, causing a split in favour of the Congress.

Right from the beginning, Yeddyurappa suspected Advani thrusted a “biased” Santosh Hegde as the state lokayukta on him when he was CM, and insisted on keeping him when he had quit. Finally, when Hegde blamed him in his report for the illegal mining while ignoring cases during the tenure of previous Congress CMs, Yeddyurrappa was convinced that Advani was behind him to help Kumar.

Yeddyurappa eventually quit as CM in July 2011 after Hegde’s report created a storm. He was arrested later that year and spent close to three weeks in jail. When he was in jail, Advani went on a yatra against blackmoney and addressed a rally in Bangalore, criticising him for corruption.

Upon his release, he sought to be re-instated as CM but the BJP parliametnary board did not oblige. Senior BJP leaders, who wanted Yeddyurappa to remain in the fold, tried to work on a formula.

At one stage, BSY, who is close to Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, hinted that he would stay back if Modi was declared the PM candidate. But things stuck as they were, Yeddyurappa ended his association with the saffron group after 40 years in November.

He launched his fledging KJP on December 9, which happened to be Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s birthday. He did not hesistate to praise her as the CBI closed in on him. It later went silent on his cases once his agenda was clear: demolish the BJP.

Now, with the 2014 polls, a mauled BJP and BSY will have to get together to recover themselves, BJP sources said.

First Published: May 08, 2013 12:55 IST